Reading Pablo Neruda’s poetry requires patience, tolerance, and high spirit. Very few of the contemporary Spanish-speaking writers have created so much, so incoherently and so poetically, as this Chilean poet. Before his achievement an attitude of indifference or complete adherence becomes almost impossible. Criticism must also take into account the radicalism of his Communist ideology and the resulting controversial opinions of his readers. A literary analysis of his poetry must put aside these perspectives in order to obtain a serene and objective appreciation of his work.
Neruda’s poetry is characterized by language and attitudes as visceral as those of D. H. Lawrence. Most of the time his poetry springs tumultuously in a feverish mood, expressing his eroticism, melancholy, anxiety, and protest.
From the very beginning, in his youthful work, he expresses his romantic vein in the limpid, sad lines of CREPUSCULARIO (POEMS OF THE TWILIGHT).
At the same time, while love and beauty are sharpened by erotic desire, the poet tries to avoid them.
VEINTE POEMAS DE AMOR Y UNA CANCION DESESPERADA (TWENTY POEMS OF LOVE AND A DESPERATE SONG) inaugurates, as the title itself implies, the torture of love. Between the poet and the loved woman there is only distance and bitterness. It does not matter whether love has joy in itself; sooner or later anguish crosses the heart as a tempest and whirlwind. To heal his...
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